Tony Hall will step down as the director general of the BBC in the summer to make way for a new person who will negotiate the future for the broadcaster with the government, he said on Monday.
Britain's publicly funded broadcaster will need to negotiate a new charter with the government by 2027 and hold a mid-term review in 2022.
The BBC is one of Britain's main news providers, as well as the biggest single television and radio broadcaster and the voice of the country to millions around the world.
It is funded by what is in effect a 154.50-pound ($198) annual "license fee" tax on all television-watching households, has a central presence in British cultural life, with its TV, radio and online content reaching 92% of the population.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has questioned if the BBC should continue to be supported by an annual fee paid by all viewing households regardless of how much they use the corporation's services.